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Shed 4

A little bit about my car - an Audi TT - and the non-hairdressery-y things I've done with it...

I'm lucky enough to own a 2005 Mk1 Audi TT - basically a Mk4 Golf with impractically-small rear seat space. I've had it for a little over two years now and its been a lot of fun to own and work on.

It's a four-wheel-drive model with Volkswagen's 3.2 litre VR6 engine powering it, and a flappy-paddle semi-automatic gearbox, which means that if I were a hairdresser (and I'm not mainly because I'm not safe around sharp things like scissors...), I would be able to get from appointment to appointment very quickly, accompanied by a very nice exhaust note.

I call my car "Shed" because, before this car, I owned no less than three Ford Fiestas, all of which were in various states of repair. The first was the least-tidy, and ended its life spray-painted black (by me); because of its slightly tatty appearance, I christened it "Shed". Subsequent cars were logically known as Sheds 2 and 3, and as the Audi is my fourth car, I call it Shed 4.

Giraffes on Shed's dash pod.

Bits I've changed

The main changes I've made to it are handling upgrades; this is because, as standard, the V6 TT with the auto gearbox is very very nose-heavy (and generally heavy, too, at 1.6 tonnes), so it's infamous for understeering and generally being a bit of a sod to handle.

These upgrades include...

  • Replacing as many of its knackered rubber suspension bushes with polyurethane bushings; most of the replacement bushes are the same hardness (durometer) rating as the original bushes, but should take a lot longer to wear out, if at all. A couple of bushes such as the front suspension top mounts have been replaced with harder polyurethane to further tighten the front-end up,
  • Uprating the anti-rollbars with H&R's thicker jobbies,
  • Fitting Cookbot front bush upgrades,
  • Fitting four Cookbot adjustable rear tie-bars to allow the rear geometry to be aligned properly,
  • Replacing the two-piston front brake calipers with a pair of Brembo four-piston calipers,
  • Braided brake hoses all round,
  • Eibach coilovers all round,
  • A 300mm rear brake upgrade (another Cookbot production) - up from the stock 258mm brakes,
  • A pair of bum-hugging Cobra Misano Lux seats in black leather and black alcantara.

A few other odds and ends have been changed, mainly for cosmetic reasons, because I'm vain like that... =o)

  • Steering wheel re-trimmed in black leather and alcantara with red stitching by Royal Steering Wheels,
  • Audi RS4-style alloys with Goodyear Eagle rubber,
  • Headlight projectors upgraded to Chinese 55w fast-bright ballasts with bi-xenon projectors,
  • Almost all bulbs changed to LEDs where practical and safe (high-beams are still halogen, for example, because they're more reliable and barely ever used),
  • Concert headunit changed to one with DAB and Bluetooth, etc
  • Home-brew removable stainless bar and luggage net to make a bit more of the boot space,
  • Extra-posh carpet floor mats, just because,
  • Obligatory dash-cam,
  • Mobile phone holder thingy on a goose-neck which bolts into the floor, with possibly too many charging cables for every device under the sun...
  • Pine leylandii needles everywhere (Shed is usually parked under a leylandii tree, so she's usually peppered with pine needles literally everywhere, including in her fuel filler cap, weirdly - how on earth do they get in there?!),
  • Probably various other odds and ends fiddled-with that I can't remember right now, too...

Coming soon...

  • HPA Touch Motion Haldex Controller - adds a shiny touch-screen to the dashboard which lets me turn up or down the amount of power sent to the rear wheels,
  • Wavetrac limited-slip differentials front and rear - these gadgets prevent wheelspin when one wheel on an axle loses grip, which helps the car put the power down much more reliably.

Probably not coming soon, unless I win the lottery several times over...

  • Turbo conversion, taking the engine from 250 to 450 BHP. But I can dream :)
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... and bits I've broked

Things which have broken or are on their way out include...

  • The aircon evaporator - buried deep inside the dash - has leaked since I bought the car. Stupidly, I didn't realise until I'd had the car just over a year, at which point the aftermarket warranty I was "encouraged" to buy by the garage salesman had expired. So, Shed has no aircon, which is great for fuel economy but not so great in the summer when things can get a bit sticky. At some point I will take on the project to replace the evaporator, but it's a pig of a job and would cost well over a grand in labour if I took it to a garage, so it will have to be a DIY job :(
  • Front left driveshaft replaced as the outer CV joint started seizing at full-lock - this seems to be because a previous owner left a split CV boot gaitor for several months, running the joint almost completely dry :-(
  • Rusty exhaust replaced with a stainless job from Scorpion (keeping the exhaust flap on the second exhaust pipe to reduce noisiness),
  • Windscreen wipers are quite slow, so I need to grease up the mechanism and add a better earth strap to get it back to normal speed,
  • Uhhm... That's actually about it as far as I can remember :-)

I might, if I stop being a lazy sod, post up a couple of picture of all of these time-wasting changes I've made on Shed over the last couple of years.

Then again, maybe I should just get out and drive the damned thing :-)

/Alex